On the path of my own healing, I spent over ten years exploring all sorts of different alternative therapy modalities and throughout this blog, I will share how I use them and also share information from people who have helped me along the way. My Healing Protocol is a little bit different than many of the “classic” TMS recommendations – partly because I found CranioSacral Therapy (bodywork) before I found out about TMS. After working through the traditional TMS methods, I find that I sometimes need more integration between the body, mind and spirit than the traditional TMS treatment methods (journaling, meditation, talk therapy). My mind usually takes over and runs the show, which has a tendency to run my body ragged.
The more I learn about the mind-body connection, the more convinced I am that healing from chronic TMS requires a consistent, integrated approach that incorporates:
Healing has layers. We will never be fully done because this is part of the human experience. But we can incorporate tools and lifestyle changes to help us move through the layers in ways that feel supportive, safe, and sustainable.
The ultimate purpose of healing is not to just heal. It is to LIVE and fully embrace all that life has to offer… in our jobs, marriages, families, and friends. To live empowered, fulfilled, meaningful lives. I believe that life is not only available to us, it is ours for the claiming.
This book single handedly changed my views on the mind-body connection and how thoughts, feelings, emotions and beliefs impact the body and can manifest in countless ways. Healing Back Pain and the information it contained about TMS was the final key that I needed to resolve persistent back pain. I did eventually reach the conclusion that the pain was in my brain, I just didn’t realize that I needed to interpret the information differently until I read Healing Back Pain.
Repressed emotions get stored in the tissue and releasing those blocks is really key to moving into your future. Emotions are actually energy in motion. CranioSacral Therapy was a critical starting point in my healing journey because I had to learn how to honor my body through my mind and spirit.
CranioSacral Therapy is helpful for people who have difficulty accessing their emotions in other ways (ex: talk therapy or journaling) because during treatment, thoughts and emotions are processed through your heart – not your brain.
I recommend trying some other alternative therapies like EFT (Tapping) and Reiki, in addition to CranialSacral Therapy to find what works best for you. Learn more about alternative therapies here.
Yoga is a gentle way to get your body moving and feel good. It can be a great way to get stale energy out of our bodies, reminds us to be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and provides a safe container for our nervous systems to settle.
At the root of mind-body conditions seems to be a fundamental lack of self-love. Yoga helps support our body, mind and spirit as we explore new ways of thinking in a safe and compassionate way.
If yoga isn’t your thing, do something else! Moving your body and doing what feels good, is key to healing from chronic conditions.
For those of us with long term, chronic stress and illness, it’s possible that your cells may benefit from some very gentle detoxification protocols. The same way that you may feel better when you clean out and reorganize your closets, your cells may feel better and move better if there is less sludge to work around.
Chronic stress and illness have a large impact on our cellular health, and particularly our cortisol and testosterone levels, which over time can lead to widespread changes throughout the body and brain, making us more sensitive to stressful situations, smells, sounds and even food.
Due to my genetic makeup, detoxing is not something that my body does well on its own, so gentle detoxification tools help to improve cellular health, reduce brain fog and feel better. Detoxing was also the first shift away from a pain mindset and onto just another way to have a healthier body.
I take three supplements every day (plus Suja green juice) to help me feel my best.
After trying seemingly every supplement and supplement out there (as recommended by my functional medicine doctor), these are the three that have “stuck.” I am a firm proponent of simplifying the number of supplements that we consume – partly to protect our wallets, and partly because taking a lot of supplements usually isn’t sustainable. If I don’t notice a difference, I don’t take it.
After learning about TMS and then listening to podcasts like Jay Shetty’s On Purpose, I began to realize how much power our thoughts have on our physical bodies. It is critical that we “capture every thought” through what we listen to, who we listen to, and how it makes us feel.
It is important to notice the voices and thoughts in our head, observe them, and take the time to journal to “get them out.” The interesting thing about the voices and thoughts in our head is that they are JUST THOUGHTS.
Thoughts are just thoughts. Not Truth.
Often, we actively or passively give these thoughts way too much airtime and then begin to react to these thoughts as though they are fact. This has an actual, physical, measurable impact on our bodies.
Taking time to examine where those thoughts are coming from and more importantly, the emotions and feelings behind those thoughts is important. I try to journal regularly because I find that seemingly disparate thoughts are sometimes related. The connection isn’t always apparent until I take pen to paper. Most importantly, get curious about what’s coming up.
Of course, we don’t just listen to the voices in our head, we also listen to other people’s voices too. Make sure that who you listen to are people who speak Truth, inspire you or help you to think about things in ways that promote positive growth.
If you have a colleague or loved one in your life who makes it difficult to avoid negativity, start to see where you can establish healthy boundaries by steering conversations into more edifying directions or simply loving them from a distance (aka don’t talk to them so much!). Healthy boundaries help us to establish more self-trust and self-love, which is key to healing and growth.
Pay close attention to how advice, thoughts, and feelings make you feel. Yes, I realize that I said “pay attention to how feelings make you feel.”
When we give too much airtime to fear or negativity, it breeds more fear and negativity and can take our days off course – and at a shockingly fast speed. Conversely, joy, positivity and inspiration can do the same. Pay attention to how people, places, and information (including the news) make you feel. Choosing to bring in more of what feels uplifting will breed more positivity. The more good energy you cultivate, the more you will notice energy of all sorts – and the more you can build in more of what makes you feel good.
I have realized that regularly listening to audio books or podcasts, especially in the morning, primes my brain and helps me to maintain more of a growth mindset throughout the day. Give it a try!
Getting an Apple Watch led to an unexpected shift in my exercise regimen. By setting up daily activity goals, I started becoming more aware of my daily routine, which led to gradual (and then major) shifts in my workout habits.
Changes in my workout habits prompted me to begin listening to more podcasts, which fed my mind and helped me to establish my own [mindset guardrails], which I previously didn’t even know I needed.
While yoga is always my home base for exercise, adding in weight lifting, swimming, biking, running and walking help to increase my overall wellbeing (and also help close my activity circles faster!).
Melt Method Hand and Foot Balls work on the pressure points in your feet and hands to release tension patterns and hydrate our fascia connective tissue.
These balls work similarly to a reflexology massage, but this is better because you can do this at home and on the road. I find that these balls help relieve tension not only in my feet and hands, but also in my calves, hips, glutes, shoulders and neck.
It is the combination of releasing tension patterns and hydrating connective tissue that makes these balls so effective. Our fascia tissue encases our entire body and keeping it hydrated is important to help our bodies feel their best. If you have a tendency to run “tight” because of structural differences, stress, activity or a combination of all three, check these out.
Self-love. At the end of the day, I am convinced that most suffering is rooted in a lack of self-love (and particularly, love for our inner child). I’ve listed this last, intentionally. It is not until we try everything else, that we really start to surrender and I think that’s where self-love can be found.
For more on Self-Love, check out the book Mirror Work by Louise Hay.